We’ve been great fans of the Gruffalo trails at our local Forestry Commission site in Wendover Woods, marking the book’s 15th anniversary last year. The trails have recently been updated for the new season with a new theme based around the Superworm book. We took the opportunity over the Easter holidays to check it out.
At two years old Tilly is younger than the suggested age range for the trail but is nevertheless familiar with the Julia Donaldson book and characters. It’s fair to say that Tilly doesn’t know Superworm as well as the Gruffalo books, which have been turned into animations, so I was unsure how she’d find it.
Unlike the Gruffalo trails before it, the Superworm trail is based solely around the display boards along the route. Tilly enjoyed spotting each one and looking at the pictures however it was a bit of a shame there were no characters hanging around to find.
The activities on the display boards were well thought out and complemented by a activity pack which we didn’t purchase on this occasion as we set off before the cafe opened. Nevertheless I got Tilly to try out some of the simpler tasks such as closing her eyes and listening as well as drawing lines in the dirt with a stick that we’d jump over.
Older children, especially those of reading age would undoubtedly get much more out of the trail but it was pleasing that elements of it could still be followed by really little ones.
I was struck by how different the trail felt compared to our last visit in winter. The Forestry Commission team have clearly been working hard at managing the area, which felt much more light and open than last time.
The highlight of the trail for Tilly remains finding the Gruffalo statue at the end of the trail, which has remained despite the change in theme and has clearly been given some TLC to keep it bright after thousands of hugs and the occasional climb. Nearby some new woodcarving featured barn owls and a badger and steps to climb up.
The visit to the woods was made complete as ever by a trip to the extensive adventure playground and the excellent Cafe in the Woods. Once again we had no problem using up the two hours of our parking ticket. When she’s older I imagine our visits will be longer still.
All in all one of my favourite local days out that keeps us returning time after time.